October 16, 2003
At 7:44 this morning, 15 juvenile Whooping Cranes took off from the Necedah
National Wildlife Refuge, following an ultralight airplane on the first
leg of their long flight to Florida. Nine of the cranes made the entire
23.2-mile flight to Juneau County. Two dropped down just 2 miles from the
landing site and will be transported to the stopping point. The other 4
dropped out while still close to the refuge, and will also be transported
to join the other birds. In unfamiliar territory, these cranes are more
likely to stick with the aircraft in coming days. We re fairly confident
that now that these birds are away from the familiarity of Necedah refuge,
they ll more consistently follow the ultralight aircraft, said Operation
Migration s Joe Duff, the lead ultralight pilot.
who turned up almost daily from
Oct. 8 to see the migration begin! Photos OM/WCEP.
Crane #303 remains under observation at the International
Crane Foundation as she recovers from a small leg fracture. WCEP project veterinarians hope to transport her to
join the ultralight-led migration in progress after she has healed.
Map the Migration
Make your own map using the latest migration
This! Journaling Questions
they flew the first 23.2 miles of their 1228-mile journey. How many
miles to go? How do you feel about today's take-off? Relieved? Excited?
Worried? How do you think the cranes will react to their first night
in a strange place? Imagine you are one of the cranes. If you could
use human words and write, what would you put in your diary today?
we asked which stretch of the flight might be aided by westerly winds.
That would be the stretch from Illinois to Indiana, after the birds
have flown south far enough to avoid flying over Chicago. How many
days will it take the birds to get down to Illinois? Write down your
prediction, and after the cranes cross the Wisconsin/Illinois border,
see how close your guess was.